HUNTINGTON, W. Va. (11/25/23) – The Arkansas State football team could not overcome an early four-touchdown deficit, falling 35-21 at Marshall on Saturday at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
The Red Wolves (6-6, 4-4 SBC) scored on special teams for the second consecutive week and trimmed the deficit in half, but could not complete the comeback in the regular-season finale against the Thundering Herd (6-6, 3-5). Marshall out-gained A-State 493-305 and owned possession for nearly 37 minutes.
Jaylen Raynor completed 19 of 38 pass attempts for 263 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown to Courtney Jackson, who caught four passes for 48 yards and also scored on a 60-yard punt return in the third quarter.
Jackson’s punt return was A-State’s first since Johnnie Lang Jr. scored on a 63-yard return against Tulsa on Sept. 25, 2021. In the punting game, William Pryztup pinned five of his seven punts downed inside Marshall’s 20-yard line.
Marshall held possession for over 10 minutes in the first quarter scoring twice on touchdown passes from Cam Fancher to Charles Montgomery from 9 and 15 yards out to own a 14-0 lead after the opening period. Fancher completed 16 of his 22 passes for 214 yards and three touchdowns.
After an interception pinned the Herd on their own 1-yard line, Fancher capped a 99-yard scoring drive with a 7-yard rush to make it 21-0 with 11:31 left in the half. Marshall added another touchdown at the 6:15 mark when Fancher found Caleb McMillan for a 21-yard strike to push its lead to 28-0.
A-State fought back near the end of the half when Ja’Quez Cross scored on a 3-yard rush to make it a 28-7 halftime deficit.
Fancher tacked his second rushing touchdown of the day with 6:58 to go in the third quarter, pushing the lead out to 35-7. The Marshall signal-caller was one of two 100-yard rushers, rushing 18 times for 100 yards, while Ethan Payne churned out 113 yards on 19 rush attempts.
The Scarlet and Black answered with 2:50 remaining in the third when Jackson broke loose for his 60-yard punt return TD – his second of his career. He then pulled the Red Wolves to within two touchdowns with 2:54 left in the contest, hauling in a 2-yard pass from Raynor, but Marshall would hold strong defensively to end the comeback attempt.
Arkansas State – bowl eligible for the first time since 2019 – now waits to find out its postseason assignment. The 2023 bowl matchups will be revealed on Sunday, Dec. 3, following regular-season and conference championship games.
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A-State Drops Regular-Season Finale at Marshall, 35-21. Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council